Poetry: ‘That Guy’ (Anne Sexton ‘Her Kind’ homage)

My homage to Anne Sexton’s ‘Her Kind’, a wonderful laser of a poem I discovered last week.

 

 

That Guy

I have performed, a dancing minstrel
Grinning for approval, shiny beads of sweat,
Peacocking in my dapper apparel
Friday night smiles on a wobbling head.
A cornered, dying thing: please be kind,
I’ll dance again! I’ll never forget!
I have been that guy.

I have laughed the loudest at your joke
And seen a sea of faces alike,
That aren’t like mine and don’t have yolks
Of frightened yellow in place of eyes.
I’ve begged to sit, I cannot lie
I’ve parroted in desperate hope.
I have been that guy.

I have believed in every inch of your lineage:
Your stories, your fortune, your bibles, your whip,
I have rolled over for crumbs of your privilege,
And entertained you where you sit.
I’ve even walked your daughter by my side,
And let her think that I am it.
I have been that guy.

-Me

 

 

Her Kind

I have gone out, a possessed witch,
haunting the black air, braver at night;
dreaming evil, I have done my hitch
over the plain houses, light by light:
lonely thing, twelve-fingered, out of mind.
A woman like that is not a woman, quite.
I have been her kind.

I have found the warm caves in the woods,
filled them with skillets, carvings, shelves,
closets, silks, innumerable goods;
fixed the suppers for the worms and the elves:
whining, rearranging the disaligned.
A woman like that is misunderstood.
I have been her kind.

I have ridden in your cart, driver,
waved my nude arms at villages going by,
learning the last bright routes, survivor
where your flames still bite my thigh
and my ribs crack where your wheels wind.
A woman like that is not ashamed to die.
I have been her kind.

-Anne

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